re·con·nais·sance | \ri-ˈkä-nə-zən(t)s, -sən(t)s\

Definition of reconnaissance 

: a preliminary survey to gain information especially : an exploratory military survey of enemy territory

Examples of reconnaissance in a Sentence

There are two helicopters available for reconnaissance. They did a reconnaissance of the enemy's position.

Recent Examples on the Web

Historic England, another public body, has dispatched aerial reconnaissance teams from bases in York and Swindon to scour the country for Roman villas and prehistoric forts. The Economist, "Dry weather is helping archaeologists discover ancient sites," 12 July 2018 But experts said the reconnaissance work isn’t exact and the geography — the ever-shifting top soil of the Jordan River Valley — has displaced some of them. Washington Post, "Area around Jesus’ baptism site being cleared of land mines," 29 Mar. 2018 But experts said the reconnaissance work isn't exact and the geography — the ever-shifting top soil of the Jordan River Valley — has displaced some of them. Tia Goldenberg, Fox News, "Area around Jesus' baptism site being cleared of land mines," 29 Mar. 2018 In response, the alliance activated AWACS reconnaissance flights over the U.S. for months, in operations that included 830 crew members from 13 NATO countries. David Rising, Fox News, "A look at NATO and what the alliance does, past and present," 13 July 2018 Today’s Video Eye in the Sky Six decades after the U-2 flew its first mission, the military is trying to harness artificial-intelligence technology to enhance its combat-reconnaissance capabilities. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The 10-Point.," 8 June 2018 Je lui ai annoncé qu'en reconnaissance de cet acte héroïque il allait être régularisé dans les plus brefs délais, et que la brigade des sapeurs-pompiers de Paris était prête à l'accueillir. Ben Westcott, CNN, "Father of child in 'Spiderman' rescue was playing Pokemon Go," 29 May 2018 In June 1944, after training in reconnaissance, Mr. Major, by then a sniper in the army, lost sight in his left eye. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "A One-Eyed Québécois ‘Rambo’ Captures Imaginations in Canada," 27 May 2018 Tropical Storm Beryl was downgraded on Sunday, and the National Hurricane Center indicated reconnaissance aircraft couldn’t find a central circulation, meaning the storm is a remnant system. NBC News, "Puerto Rico prepares for remnants of Beryl, as some still remain without power after hurricane," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reconnaissance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of reconnaissance

1779, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for reconnaissance

French, literally, recognition, from Middle French reconoissance, from Old French reconoistre to recognize

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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The first known use of reconnaissance was in 1779

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English Language Learners Definition of reconnaissance

: military activity in which soldiers, airplanes, etc., are sent to find out information about an enemy


re·con·nais·sance | \ri-ˈkä-nə-zəns \

Kids Definition of reconnaissance

: a survey (as of enemy territory) to get information

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